For thirty-three years, Linda McEachran Southard was the director, arranger, and choreographer for the award-winning Expressions from Buffalo Grove High School, located in the Chicago, Illinois suburbs. While at Buffalo Grove, Linda maintained a fully comprehensive choral program, providing opportunities for her students to sing major choral works with orchestra as well as producing one of the early cutting edge show choirs of the movement in the United States. Known as a trailblazer and innovator in the development of show choir, Linda earned numerous caption awards, both vocal and choreographic, as well as several national level show choir titles. She continues to choreograph for show choirs as well as being busy providing clinics, workshops and judging at local and national levels. Currently, she spends much of her time arranging for some of the best show choirs in the U.S..
Linda has been a vocal and choreographic clinician for the prestigious Show Choir Camps of America for over thirty years, sharing her talents with thousands of students and fellow educators. In addition, she has choreographed and directed over thirty musical theatre productions, including classics such as West Side Story, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Fiddler on the Roof, as well as more contemporary musicals such as Hairspray, Footloose and Curtains. Linda received her Bachelor of Music Education from Indiana University and her Masters of Music from Northwestern University. Most recently, Linda was the recipient of the Fame Lifetime Achievement Award for her impact on the show choir world.
Kevin Chase is a freelance choreographer based out of Iowa City, IA. He started his career as a director and choreographer at Bemidji High School in Bemidji, MN from 2003 to 2009. Kevin choreographs around 30 groups a year ranging from the middle school, high school, and college levels, and travels all over the midwest and south; choreographing, serving as a guest clinician, and adjudicating competitions. Kevin Chase has many groups who consistently place in their divisions and many have gone on to win several Grand Champion & Best Choreography awards.
In 2011, Kevin was awarded ‘Best New Choreographer’ at the FAME Aspire Awards, and is the 2014 and 2016 recipient of the FAME Aspire ‘Visual Vanguard’ award. He is honored to be involved in so many show choir programs, and is so thankful for all the directors, students, parents, administrations, and communities that support them!
Jeannie appeared as the Vocal Coach for CBC’s Over The Rainbow and was the Musical Director for Seussical (YPT), Anything Goes, Chicago, Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins (Drayton Entertainment), The Full Monty (Rose Theatre) and Hair at The Grand Theatre (London). Previous shows include Jersey Boys (Dancap), The Sound of Music (Mirvish), The Rocky Horror Show (Randolph Academy), Side by Side by Sondheim (Sonus Stage Producations) and You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Georgian Theatre Festival).
Jeannie has toured North America with Riverdance – The Show and toured and recorded extensively with the Elmer Iseler Singers. She has appeared as a soloist with the AIMS Festival Orchestra, Summer Opera Lab, Vocalpoint Chamber Choir and the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir with whom she was a Vocal Coach for seven years.
Jeannie has been on the music faculty at the Randolph Academy for the past 18 years, has conducted the Intermediate Chorus for the Canadian Children’s Opera Company and is Associate Music Director at Metropolitan Community Church Toronto. She has also served as keyboardist for Seussical, Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia!, Pelagie and Lord of the Rings. Jeannie holds Associateship Diplomas in Voice and Piano from the Western Conservatory of Music and studied Opera at the American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. She has a private studio teaching Musical Theatre, Pop and Classical voice and is also active as a Clinician and Adjudicator.
Devyn Nekoda and Alyssa Trask
Stars of Family Channel / Netflix US / Disney Worldwide’s TV Series “Backstage”
A rising young star on the entertainment scene, Devyn Nekoda started dancing at the age of 2 with the Lisa Naves Dance Company in Simcoe Ontario where she continues to study ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, tap, acrobatics and hip hop. Devyn also enjoys attending dance conventions where she gains experience from top choreographers from across the nation. Devyn is a natural on stage and has won numerous titles at regional and national events across Canada and the United States. On stage, she has had the privilege of performing with Edyta Sliwinska from Dancing with the Stars in the production of Dance Star at the Avalon Theater and toured southern Ontario with Tree House’s- Roll Play Live.
Devyn has also proven to be a natural on camera as well. Her very first audition scored her a leading role in the movie American Girl “Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight”. More success quickly followed with recurring lead and guest lead roles on The Next Step – Season 2 and 3, Annedroids -Season 2 , 3 and 4, Max & Shred – Season 1 and 2, Degrassi – Season 14.
Summers of 2015 and 2016 have been busy with the shooting of seasons one and two of an exciting new television series, airing on the Family Channel in Canada as well as Disney Worldwide and Netflix in the US, called Backstage where she plays one of the lead roles, “Vanessa”.
In 2016 Devyn also worked alongside Jason Priestley and Molly Ringwald in another new tv series, Raising Expectations and shot the Disney Feature The Swap.
Devyn has recently lent her talents to the Mishka project that will benefit several charitable organizations including: Little Warriors, An Ark of Hope for Children, The Unchained Project and Kids Help Phone.
A dynamic performer onstage and onscreen, Alyssa is an elite dancer with an unprecedented work ethic, coupled with extraordinary talent and phenomenal versatility. She trains in multiple disciplines; hip hop, jazz funk, ballet, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. She trains in Toronto, as well as NYC and LA. Travelling extensively to workshops and intensives throughout Canada and the United States, she has been recognized with numerous scholarships, titles and awards. She has had the opportunity to train with, personally assist and perform for some of the most talented choreographers in the industry both within Canada and the United States as a “Pulse Protégé”, “Monsters of Hip Hop Showcase nominee” and a “Velocity MVA artist”. Alyssa is a member of Abstrakt Beings; a dance company based in New York City dedicated to helping artists advance in the industry. Her performance credits include World of Dance, IIFA, TSO, National Ballet of Canada’s Nutcracker, and Toronto Raptors Mini Dancepak.
Alyssa is proving to be a natural on camera as well as onstage. In 2013, Alyssa landed her first principle role in “Isabelle Dances Into the Spotlight” expanding her experiences and further creating a love for acting. Further success followed with appearances on “The Next Step Season 3” as well “The Stanley Dynamic Season 1” and her most recent accomplishment with a lead role as “Carly”, on “Backstage Season 1 and 2” airing in Canada on Family Channel, in the US on Netflix and around the world on Disney Worldwide.
Alyssa is an Honour Roll student that is fluent in both English and French. She trains hard, and performs from the heart. Alyssa is a phenomenal performer and actor with great focus and personal conviction.